Poverty diseases are diseases which are directly or indirectly related to poverty. Poverty is a curse which afflicts billions of people worldwide. These people do not have the resources to buy nutritious food. This causes them to become malnourished. Malnourishment weakens their immune system and this makes them even more susceptible to diseases. Diarrhea, tuberculosis, aids and malaria are some of the most widespread of all the poverty diseases.
Diarrhea: Poverty diseases are caused primarily due to unhygienic living conditions. Often, poor people do not have access to proper toilets. Many people who live in slums defecate in the open air. This gives rise to a host of illnesses and infections. Flies come into contact with feces and become careers of pathogenic bacteria. If these feces enter a water source, then the water in the area becomes contaminated. Consumption of such water can lead to epidemics. Millions of people die every year due to poverty diseases such as diarrhea. Diarrhea is the number one cause of death in the world. It is a condition where a person passes loose stools more than thrice in twenty four hours. This prevents the body from retaining essential fluids and leads to dehydration. If the intestinal tissues of a person become damaged, then blood is found in the stools. This is a symptom of an acute case of diarrhea – It is known as dysentery.
Malaria: Malaria is very closely associated with poverty. It is one the major poverty diseases of the world. Malaria kills hundreds of thousands of people every year. Malaria is most common in the sub-Saharan regions of Africa, some parts of Asia and also certain areas of South America. Malaria is caused by a parasite known as ‘plasmodium’. Mosquitoes are the careers of this parasite. Whenever a mosquito bites a person with malaria, the mosquito itself is becomes infected. The mosquito then transfers the parasite to every subsequent person that it bitten by it. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. If only conditions were more sanitary in these countries, then the number of mosquitoes would reduce significantly and so would the occurrence of malaria.
AIDS: AIDS is the most dangerous of all the poverty diseases. AIDS can be transferred through unprotected sexual intercourse and blood transfusion. It is perhaps the biggest threat that lurks over mankind. It can potentially annihilate the human race as there is no cure for AIDS. Aids can be prevented through awareness. But, the problem is that there is very little knowledge about the disease in poverty-stricken areas. A lot of initiative has been taken by the World Health Organization to prevent the spread of this disease. Condoms are being distributed to encourage people to have safe sex. Education drives are being conducted to make people aware of the potential dangers of AIDS.
Tuberculosis is the most widespread of all poverty diseases. It is common even in developed countries. But, it has been successfully brought under control through vaccinations. However, these vaccinations are not available in certain impoverished regions of the world and tuberculosis still claims the lives of millions in such areas.
Tips and comments
The only way to prevent poverty diseases is to create conditions which are conducive to the better overall health of the population of poverty-stricken regions. Nutrition and proper sanitation are perhaps the best way to counter poverty diseases.
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